In the past few years we have followed suggestions from Reformed Worship for our Lenten season. This past year, however, we felt inspired to do our own thing.
Several well-known hymn writers “reappeared” recently for one hour in Bloomington, Minnesota. They were our guests at a hymn festival that was planned to build appreciation for the hymnody of the church among our children—and adults. The service was inspired by an article by Hal Hopson in The Chorister (Summer 1998), the journal of the Choristers Guild.
The liturgical seasons of Lent and Easter call for divergent musical expressions from an organist. Fortunately, many composers have worked to create beautiful new works for organ for these seasons. I reviewed over fifty recently released works from major publishing houses. The following collections are those I found most rewarding for worship and inspiring for congregational singing. Each is marked E (Easy), M (Moderate) or D (Difficult).
SOLO ORGAN MUSIC FOR THE SEASON
In past years Reformed Worship has offered churches a series of Advent resources that have often been based on Scripture lessons outlined by the Revised Common Lectionary. This year the resources take a different, though related, direction. Each year the lectionary follows a different gospel more or less sequentially. The gospels of Matthew and Luke (Years A and C respectively) contain enough narrative about Jesus’ birth or early life to make the direct focus on Jesus every week in Advent preaching natural and relatively easy.
Whether you’re just beginning your search for suitable service music for piano or you want ideas for adding to your collection, the following list of recent publications should give you a good place to start. Churches with several pianists may want to invest in some of these for a “pianist’s library.” Each is marked E (Easy), M (Moderate), or D (Difficult).
Albrecht, Mark. Timeless Hymns of Faith. Augsburg Fortress, 1998. #10-10863. 22 pp. $10.00. M.
The joy of the Christmas season is an unending fountain of creativity for musicians. I reviewed over fifty new organ collections for the Christmas/Advent/Epiphany season from several publishing houses. The spirit of the season is alive and well in the writing of new organ music. The following collections are those I found most rewarding for worship and inspiring for congregational singing. Each is marked E (Easy), M (Moderate), or D (Difficult).
SOLO ORGAN MUSIC
FOR THE SEASON
This service was planned by Alistair Drummond, pastor, Amy Mendez, associate pastor, and Jorge Lockward, minister of music, along with members of a worship planning team at The West End Presbyterian Church, New York City.
ASSEMBLING IN GOD'S NAME
Introit: “Live in Charity” (Music of Taizé, vol 1; GIA) (1)
Ubi caritas et amor, ubi caritas Deus ibi est.
Donde hay amor y caridad. Donde hay amor, Dios tambien está.
We planned this service as part of an evening series on the book of Nehemiah. It focuses on the feast of booths or tabernacles (sukkot). With a little bit of tweaking, it could be an interesting service either for the time of sukkot or else possibly a service for the first Sunday of Advent.
As the fall of 1998 came around, the worship planning team at Cascade Fellowship was confronted with two problems. We had determined to enhance the versatility of our worship space with the installation of a computer and video projection system. However, this new technology came into conflict with one of our most treasured symbols—the cross. A screen was erected on the front wall of the worship center that made it impossible for the cross to remain. There was not room enough for the two of them.
Fourth Sunday in Advent
Flourish Like Grain
Hosea 14; John 12:23-26
Call to Worship
From Scripture: Psalm 96
In Song: “Humble Thyself in the Sight of the Lord” Maranatha! Praise Chorus Book 3 66
Lighting the Advent Wreath
Child: Why do we light four candles today?